June 27, 2013
GOING, GOING, GHANA -- AGAIN
U.S. U-20s eliminated by Ghana, 4-1
KAYSERI, Turkey Ė The United States Under-20 Menís National Team suffered their second 4-1 defeat in three games, and was knocked out of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup after falling to Ghana Thursday at Kadir Has Stadium.
Needing a win to finish in third place in Group A, which also included tournament favorites Spain and France, to possibly earn a ticket to the Round of 16 as one of the four third-place teams, the U.S. couldnít hold off a potent Ghana attack. The U.S. lost to Spain 4-1 in the opening match before drawing 1-1 against France and finished the group in fourth place with one point.
It was the third time in seven years Ghana had eliminated a U.S. team from a FIFA-sanctioned competition. The Africans ousted the Americans in the final group game at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and stopped their foes in the Round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Ghana had a total of 25 shots, including 17 on goal, as they peppered the U.S. defense and tested U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper throughout the match. Despite the score line, Cropper kept the U.S. in the game until the final 12 minutes when Ghana scored their third and fourth goals.
Early on, the U.S. had a couple of chances from Mario Rodriguez and Jose Villarreal, but neither midfielder was able to capitalize. In the 27th minute, Rodriguez got the ball on the left sideline and cut inside along the top of the penalty area finding room to hit a shot on goal, but was unable to get power behind the effort and goalkeeper Eric Antwi was there for the easy stop.
A minute later, Villarreal had an opportunity with a blast from 22 yards out, but Antwi parried the shot over the bar.
In the 33rd minute, Cropper came up with a huge save during what appeared was going to be a definite goal for Ghana. After clearing a Ghana corner kick out of the penalty area, Seidu Salifu unleashed a shot from the top of the penalty area that was deflected and eventually fell to Lawrence Lartey. The Ghana captain quickly spun and hit a left-footed shot from six yards out, but Cropper was able to make a fantastic reaction save from a sitting position and defender Mikey Lopez cleared out the rebound.
A poor effort to clear the ball out of the U.S. area in the 38th minute provided Ghana with their initial lead. After a strike from 30 yards out was deflected, a scramble of U.S. and Ghana players tried to get control of the ball just inside the penalty area before it squirted forward towards France Acheampong, who appeared to be in an offside position. The assistantís flag stayed down and Acheampong quickly turned and slotted his point blank shot into the lower right corner past a helpless Cropper.
Ghana doubled their advantage in the 58th minute when a turnover in midfielder allowed Yiadom Boakye to dribble towards the top of the penalty area before finding Assifuah to his left a few yards inside the box. Assifuah took a settling touch and cut to his right to create enough space to curl his shot past a diving Cropper into the upper right corner.
The U.S. cut the lead in half in the 69th minute off a corner kick. Luis Gill played a short corner to Jose Villarreal, who then found Oscar Sorto near the top right corner of the penalty area. Sorto crossed the ball first-time into the box, finding a wide open Shane OíNeill who buried his header from eight yards out.
The U.S. continued to push forward and had some half-chances, but Ghana put the game away in the 78th minute with their own finish off a corner kick. Acheampong served the ball into the box where Assifuah headed home from six yards out for his second goal of the game.
Ghana added a final goal in the 83rd minute when Francis Narh tracked down a cross near the endline and slipped the ball back inside the box to Kennedy Ashia. The second-half substitute hit a first-time strike through the legs of Cropper.